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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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"Cease and desist"

08/21/2008

To The Editor:

Voters have twice rejected the attempt to install a water system primarily for Irasville (see the Town Plan of 2002) where landowners, builders and real estate agents plan to profit financially at the public's expense. Such entrepreneurial types foresee personal reward from the rest of us in town mortgaging our economic future for their benefit. Unlike roads, schools, a library or town offices where expenditures improve the lot of all taxpayers, the people who support this scheme ask us to assume general indebtedness to improve the prospects of a minority.

If in fact, users could actually pay for the millions in cost, they would issue revenue bonds which are precisely for this purpose and not put us all in debt with municipal bonds underwritten in good faith by everyone. The backers of this water project are clearly being disingenuous.

Asking for a vote over and over again hoping to wear down the majority makes a mockery of democracy. That only five percent can keep forcing a vote on the same issue over and over again is unconscionable. It would appear the developers could force five votes on this issue per year and there is no telling how many no votes they can "misplace."

We must face this challenge to democracy no matter how tedious. Those no voters who appreciate the danger will vote again and again if necessary, but all voters who may be less concerned with the issue or have other things to do should show up again and again to vote no on the principal that votes should have meaning in a democracy. Bad ideas when they are rejected by a majority vote should stay rejected at least for a few years. Make the no decisive on September 9, and maybe those who keep pushing this bad idea will cease and desist.

Toby Richards

Waitsfield

Editor's Note: Vermont statutes spell out a specific process whereby bond issues can be brought before voters, including by petition of the citizenry. The process is not unlimited, however, and no more than three votes can be held in one year. Waitsfield's water project is eligible for USDA funding. USDA Rural Development regulations prohibit the water project from being funded through tax dollars. This is because of the 2002 income survey that qualified the service area for the grant money and the lower loan interest rate. If the town chose not to accept the grant (or didn't qualify for it), the town would have had the option of using tax dollars. Rural Development will audit the books each year to ensure compliance.

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